Kids do get in trouble and there is nothing parents could do about it, the only option they are left with is to get their kids out of trouble, this is normal behavior for a kid. But things are just not normal when you are the President of the United States, and you find your kid being the center of a scandal. For centuries, American Presidents had to face the backlashes of what their sons and daughters had done, and most of the time the “shocking” details were overblown.

It’s really not easy for the children of presidents to live life normally being always under the spotlight, these kids often live under pressure, sometimes they truly suffer the consequences of their parent being the President of the nation, thus it’s not hard to sympathize with these children.

There might have been a number of First Children who were involved in controversies, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they were the “bad” ones. Most of the time it’s the media that portrays these kids like that, but sometimes, there is truth.


Ronald Reagan’s Daughter Writing About Own Life and Posing for PlayBoy

Ronal Reagan family
Ronald Reagan, Ron Junior, Mrs. Reagan, and Patti Davis. Via WikiMedia Commons

Ronald Reagan’s daughter, Patti Davis who didn’t keep her family’s last name probably because of her liberal and rebelling nature and not fitted with the reputation of the Reagan family. She had been involved in not just one but many controversies over time.

In 1986, she was the center of attention when her novel was released. The novel named “Home Front” had elements from her own life and was based on a fictional story, for which she was criticized by many. This followed with yet another autobiography “The Way I See It” which she wrote and revealed many family secrets and drama through it.

Later in life, she faced backlashes when she posed for the issue of PlayBoy in July 1994. This issue was considered to have one of the most controversial covers in the history of PlayBoy. Posing for a magazine cover is another thing, but posing naked, at the age of 58 years is a whole another level, which Davis did back in 2011 for the More magazine.


Although Patti Davis completely abandoned her family and didn’t talk to them for years, she was reconciled with them towards the end of her father’s life as he battled with Alzheimer’s disease.

The latest controversies that Davis was involved in were in 2019 when she as an editor wrote an article for Washington Post, in which she condemned comments made by Ronald Reagan about black Africans at the U.N. back in 1971 in a conversation with Richard Nixon, which was eventually taped.

Alice Roosevelt’s Pet Snake and Voodo Doll

Alice Roosevelt
Alice Roosevelt in 1902. Via WikiMedia Commons

When a dignitary asked Theodore Roosevelt Jr, 26th president of the United States to control her daughter Alice Roosevelt, allegedly for her smoking at the terrace of White House, Roosevelt replied –

I can either be President Of The United States, or I can control Alice, I cannot possibly do both.

Alice Roosevelt, the eldest child of Theodore Roosevelt led an unconventional and controversial life. From smoking in public and to be involved in gambling, partying late night, driving around with boys, there are numerous controversies attached to Alice and she is well known as a rule-breaker in an era when women were under great pressure to conform.

People close to the family claimed Roosevelt was always cold towards her and actually refused to hold Alice for the first couple of years of her life. Alice also had a pet snake which she named Emily Spinach (Spinach for the color and Emily was her spinster aunt). Yet another controversy was created when Alice was banned from entering her former residence, White House, and the reason behind it is just bizarre. She buried a Voodoo doll of the new First Lady, Nellie Taft in the front yard. Whether or not the doll was recovered is unknown.


Not a controversy, but you will be surprised to know that Alice Roosevelt appeared in one of the modern video game, Bioshock Infinite, as a First Lady character. Whether or not she was actually Alice, is not known, but the character was definitely designed from one of the portraits of Alice Roosevelt.

Lady Comstock and Alice Roosevelt
Alice Roosevelt Portrait (Left). Lady Camstock (Right)

If you can’t say anything good about someone, sit right here by me.

Alice Roosevelt

Jimmy Carter’s Daughter Was Arrested 4 Times

amy carter
Amy Carter with Jimmy Carter Rosalynn Carter, and Marcel Marceau. Via WikiMedia Commons

Amy Carter, the only daughter of 39th President of the U.S, Jimmy Carter entered the limelight at a very young age when she moved to the White House as she was the only child in years to live in the White House since the time of John F. Kennedy.


She was seen roller-skating through the White House and often invited her friends over slumber parties in her treehouse, secret services had to keep an eye on her and her friends during these events. Upon asking her opinion about the most important issues in the elections of 1980, she said “to control nuclear arms”, as told by President Carter during a debate with Ronald Reagan. Amy’s reading a book during state dinner at the White House once resulted in controversy as this was being considered offensive to foreign guests.

Amy Carter was a participant in many protests during her young age while attending college at Brown University. She was arrested 4 times, three times of which were during the protest for CIA recruiting at the University of Massachusetts. She eventually ended up kicked out of Brown University for not able to complete her coursework.

John Quincy Adams’s son Being Considered Coward

John Adams II. Via WikiMedia Commons

John Adams II, John Quincy Adams’s second son was accused of cowardice as he refused to retaliate on one occasion. John Adams II served his father as Private Secretary to the President yet not considered very successful in life.


The most famous controversy Adams was involved was at the time an anti-Adams reporter attempted to initiate a duel with John Adams II as he believed that President Adams had insulted his wife publicly. Being immune from dueling, the reporter, Russell Jarvis challenged Adams II for the duel. But even after Jarvis pulled his nose and slapped him, Adams refused to fight back, his act being considered cowardice, he received a number of backlashes from the media and eventually, this incident led to his early demise.

Another controversy not only Adams II but his brothers George and Charles were involved in was when all three of them fell in the affection of the same woman, their own cousin Mary Catherine, who lived with them after she lost her parents. Catherine decided to marry John Adams, and the ceremony took place at White House which was not attended by many including two of his brothers.


James Madison’s Step Son

John Payne Todd
John Payne Todd. Via WikiMedia Commons

James Madison adopted 2-year-old John Payne Todd when he married Dolley Payne. Madison’s effort for saving Todd from alcoholism and gambling problems often went unsuccessful and he repeatedly kept falling into various controversies and left a bad reputation for President Madison.

Todd was considered an alcoholic and never settled into one career as an adult. Madison had to bail him out of prison at times for being convicted of shooting incidents and as if that was not enough, Madison covered much of his debts he was into due to his gambling habits. Madison even assigned him to manage operations at Montpelier, but he was also not successful there.


After Madison’s death, Todd’s habits and problems led to her mother’s life in poverty. Dolley sold the family’s property to cover his debts and in order to gain some living expenses. She later died at age of 81 of old age, Todd later died of typhoid after almost 3 years of her mother’s death.

Lyndon B. Jhonson’s daughter almost set White House on Fire

The incident although didn’t create controversies, but was a center of attention in the media during Lyndon B. Jhonson’s first nights in the White House. His daughter Luci tried to light the fireplace with the help of a friend, subsequently almost burning down the executive mansion. The damage was minimal, but the White House would have have been burned to ashes that day.

James Garfield’s Boys Were ‘Holy Terrors’

Garfield Family. Via WikiMedia Commons

As stated by White House staffer to Jamestown Weekly and, James Garfield’s children were undoubtedly the worst. The Garfield boys were ‘Holy Terrors’ to speak slangily, but everybody still liked them. The three children almost owned the place with their mighty good time, and the President was just like a boy himself when he laid aside business and joined in their games with great pleasure.


The boys were up to all kinds of tricks and pranks, and many were the practical jokes played on those about the house. One of Garfield’s boy, Irvin, would often be seen riding his bicycle down the White House steps.

Bush Twins Involvement Underage Drinking

bush family
Bush Family. Via WikiMedia Commons

George W. Bush’s daughters also once caught enough media attention during their father’s presidency. In 2001, the twins Barabara and Jenna were issued citations on charges for underage drinking at a night club in Texas.

They were alleged to often ditch their Secret Service details by going through red lights and without telling the agents where they are going.


Abraham Lincoln’s Sons Not Being “Reasonably Good”

tad lincoln
Abraham Lincoln and Tad Lincoln. Via WikiMedia Commons

Two of Abraham Lincoln’s sons were spoiled ones to be sure and would often tear up the office, as associates of Lincoln never regarded the two boys as “reasonably good”. Lincoln would let them “scatter the books, smash up pens and spell ink” as recalled by William Herndon, law partner and biographer of President Abraham Lincoln.

Apparently the boys acquired this trait from their father as Lincoln himself had a reputation of being a wild youth. William Lincoln died at a young age, and Tad was left alone to make mischiefs at the White House. In one of the incidents, Tad organized a yard sale in front of the White House, in which he included clothes from Lincoln’s wardrobe. Tad also once tied a few goats and had them pull him through an official reception with a shed attached to them.


Martin Van Buren’s Son Lost House in a Bet

john van buren
John Van Buren, Via WikiMedia Commons

Martin Van Buren’s son John Van Buren, graduated from Yales University, and not only became a lawyer but also was a successful politician. Although he is considered to be very successful in life, he was also the center of certain rumors and controversies.


He is known as a heavy drinker and is allegedly involved in gambling so much that he had to be carried from the horse races. Rumors didn’t leave his side even after his death. According to one of which, Van Buren not only lost $5,000 but also his father’s home, as well his mistress. Although this is just a rumor.

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